Liberal position on aquaculture

The following was received as a response to TREPA’s letter on aquaculture previously posted.

Thank you for contacting me regarding the Liberal Caucus position on aquaculture.

Aquaculture is a successful and valuable industry in our province. With nearly 7,600 kilometres of coastline, Nova Scotia produces only a small percentage of aquaculture in Canada. There are many examples where aquaculture is used without incident and without consequence, bringing benefits to the local community and generating economic development. Recently however, there has been increased attention focused on this sector and questions about certain aquaculture projects in Nova Scotia. Many Nova Scotians from around the province have well-grounded concerns about possible adverse effects an aquaculture site may have on the environment and local eco-systems. While we support the aquaculture industry, we firmly believe that each site is different and must be looked at on an individual basis. That is why we fought against a proposed aquaculture site in Port Mouton Bay in 2007. In that instance, the proposed farm was too large for the area and would have negatively impacted the local environment and fishery operations. In 2010, we also called upon the current NDP government to strengthen regulations around aquaculture farms and communicate more effectively with Nova Scotians on this matter. We also encourage the government to look at what species and types of farms may be better suited to land-based systems rather than open water pens. Many Nova Scotians are not against aquaculture but want stronger regulations to safeguard our environment and resources.

The Nova Scotia Liberal Caucus recognizes that there have been incidents at some aquaculture sites in the province. The health of our environment is a principal concern for us; therefore, our Caucus is calling for a moratorium on the approval of new aquaculture sites until after government review is complete.

If you have further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact our office.

Stephen McNeil

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